CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
D.A. GOTTLIEB &
Wholesale & Retail
406-416 Mount Vernon Street
Camden had many family businesses and, as a town that has at many times had waves of immigrants come and bring new energy, excitement, and perhaps most important, belief in the American dream that hard work will bring prosperity. The story of the Gottlieb family is one of many threads in the wonderful and multifaceted cloth that is Camden.
The Gotttlieb family's story is typical in that like so many other families that came to Camden, the first generation founded a business, the second generation ran it afterwards with great success, and the third generation, the grandchildren of the founders, went into professions such as medicine or law, and sought their fortunes elsewhere.
Many thanks are due to Dr. Stuart Gottlieb for sharing his family's story and pictures.
the Counter at D.A. Gottlieb & Sons
Leon Gottlieb, unknown, Gerald Gottlieb, Nathan Lambersky, & John DeFelice
Click on Image to Enlarge
DANIEL A. GOTTLIEB was born in Russia on August 18, 1882. He came to America in 1890, After marrying his wife Fannie, he lived for a time in Pennsylvania, where daughter Essie and son James were born in 1907 and 1909, respectively. By 1912 the Gottliebs had come to New Jersey, and in October of 1916 Daniel Gottlieb opened his butcher shop. Six more children followed, Anna, Leon, Jean, Gerald, Leah, and Jeanette. The family had moved back to Philadelphia by 1918, and were still there in January of 1920, but would return soon to Camden and put down permanent roots.
By 1930 the butcher shop and the Gottlieb family were on the 400 block of Chestnut Street in South Camden, a block of many ethnicities, Jewish, Italian, and Black, among others. The shop was at 413, while the family resided at 411 Chestnut. Oldest son James was already in the business, driving the delivery truck. In February of 1928, he had a close call when his truck was hit by a train.
By 1936 the business had grown, and the D.A. Gottlieb business was in a large building around the corner, at 404-416 Mount Vernon Street. Daniel Gottlieb eventually brought his two other sons, Leon and Gerald, into the business.
Like many other Jewish business people in the late 1930s and 1940s, the Gottlieb family moved to East Camden. The 1947 Camden City Directory shows Daniel A. Gottlieb at 2521 Baird Boulevard, Gerald at 625 Randolph Street and Leon at 480 Randolph Street. James T. Gottlieb had moved to Mt Holly. Leon Gottlieb and family moved to 620 Marlton Avenue by the fall of 1956. The 1970 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory shows the Gottlieb still in East Camden. Daniel Gottlieb passed away in February of 1971.
The Gottliebs still had their business at 416 Mount Vernon Street as late as 1977, and Leon Gottlieb still resided at 620 Marlton Pike in that year. Gerald Gottlieb had moved to 4001 Myrtle Avenue. Eventually Gerald and Leon would move to nearby Cherry Hill. Leon Gottlieb passed away March 23, 1992, Gerald on October 21, 1998.
Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge
February 25, 1928
Thomas C. Welch
The Story of the
Since I grew up in Camden and worked with my dad at the family business on Mt Vernon St. from the time that I could hold a knife, about age 7 (1947), the site visit was particularly nostalgic. I will be happy to tell you more about the Gottliebs since the story is typical of the immigrant and particularly the Jewish immigrant family.
I am the eldest child of four of Leon Gottlieb who assumed ownership of the Daniel A. Gottlieb and Sons, Inc., dba “Gottlieb Meats”. My mother, Blanche, brothers, Fred and Steve and sister Frances all, as might be expected, worked in the "business".
My grandfather Daniel was the eldest of five brothers (Daniel, Louis, John, Herman, Jack) who came from Russia in the 1890's and early 1900's. After establishing themselves in Philadelphia, in the “rag” business they brought their parents Samuel and Pearl Gottlieb to this country. My great-grandfather Samuel had no trade or saleable skills spending his time in religious study. There are stories about my great-grandmother suggesting that she would dive off and swim around the Steele Pier in Atlantic City. I cannot verify this tale, but several of the older members of the family have stated that it is true. My grandfather bought a farm in Porchtown, N.J. and subsequently started the meat business in Camden. Stores in Pennsgrove and Mt. Holly were run by my uncles Gerald and Jim respectively.
Since it was the responsibility of the eldest to help the family get their start, as many as twenty-three family members worked in the meat business at one time. My great-uncle Lou (Daniel's youngest brother) made and lost large businesses before finally successfully settling in Charlotte, N.C. in the Army-Navy surplus business with more than twenty outlets in the South. Each time fate would deal Lou and Cele (his wife) a financial blow, they would return to Camden and the meat business on Mt. Vernon Street before setting out again.
I remember coming in to work each day after school and during vacations and summers accompanying my father to the stockyards in Lancaster, PA, and to the livestock auctions in Mt. Holly and “Cowtown” NJ.
The retail part of the business boasted many loyal and colorful customers sharing the same South Camden origins, but whose careers markedly diverged. It was an experience to see these customers, many of whom are listed elsewhere in your website, chatting in front of the long line of meat cases. Judges, senators, doctors, principals and reputed mob bosses all seemed to declare this neutral territory. I remember well a robbery occurring in the early 1960’s resulted in the cash taken on Saturday night being deposited on the front step of our home on Marlton Ave. on Sunday morning.
dad once asked customer, a Mrs. Teffeau, how long she had been
shopping at Gottlieb’s. Her reply was that she was a “new bride”
when she started and had just celebrated her 50th wedding
anniversary. The “business” served a first job for many, including
several immigrants surviving the Holocaust like “Sam” and
“Isaac” whose family members were not so fortunate. Father, son and
sometimes grandsons worked in “the business” such as Bob and Henry
Edmondson and John DeFelice, his son Pat and his grandson.
My sister Frances, my brothers and I went to Cramer Elementary, the Davis School, and then Woodrow Wilson High. Fran was editor of the high school yearbook while Fred and I were Presidents of the student government under the supervision of Mrs. Jean Baltimore. Some of my fondest memories are of time spent in the Woodrow Wilson High School Glee club under Mrs. Miriam Gilbert Hoffmeister, a truly inspired and inspiring person. I subsequently went to Franklin and Marshall College followed by University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Fred went to Dickinson College and Jefferson Medical School. I worked in the business during my “free time” until after I finished my internship at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.
true and funny memory of those days occurred while working in the
emergency room one evening. An
auto accident victim, customer of our meat business, was brought into an
Emergency Room cubicle. I was the intern on call and she looked up at me
in my white jacket from her stretcher and in a loud voice moaned “Oh
my God, it’s the butcher”.
In 1971 I moved to Miami to complete a fellowship and remained at the University of Miami, School of Medicine as Professor, founder and Director of the Nuclear Cardiology and Echocardiography Laboratories for several years prior entering private practice. Recently retired from the practice of medicine, I continue to live in Coral Gables, Florida. I have two sons, Daniel, a medical student at Emory University, and Andrew, a Ph.D. biologist in Lake Worth, Florida. My wife Dianne is a retired nurse-midwife. My sister Frances has two daughters, Melissa, an attorney/housewife and Debbie, a senior VP for the Gray advertising firm in Manhattan. Brothers Fred, a retired urologist lives in Hallandale, Florida and Steve owns a food distributorship based in Birmingham, Alabama.
the way, my Mother’s family owned Fayer’s Pure Foods on Haddon
Avenue in Camden until relatively recently. This “mom & pop”
store started by maternal grandparents, Abram and Rose Fayer, around the
mid-1920’s at the Dock Street Marketplace in Philadelphia where they
sold butter and eggs, was moved to Camden, and later grew under the
management of their sons Eugene and Emanuel (Mendel) Fayer to a full
service super market. But this is another story.
with seven of his eight children
Essie, Anne, Jean, Leah, Jeannette,
Bottom: Jim, Dan, & Leon * Not pictured: Gerald
Click on Image to Enlarge
RETURN TO CAMDEN'S INTERESTING PEOPLE PAGE
RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE